This pose is dedicated to the sage Marichi, hence the explanation for the name of this pose. Otherwise, many poses in yoga bear the names of sages, gods, and animals. By the way, Marichi means “ray of light” in Sanskrit. Marichi’s father was Brahma, who is considered the creator of this universe in which we all currently exist.
The Marichyasana pose itself is practiced in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga. The first two poses (A and B) involve forward folds. Poses C and D are twists.
In order to fully perform all the variations of this pose, it is very important to have hip flexibility. I definitely advise that if you cannot do these poses completely, you should practice the following poses: deer pose, side twist (vakrasana), and head-to-knee pose (janu sirsasana).
You can practice each of the listed poses in the spirit of yin yoga. This would mean that you should try to stay in each of these poses for at least three minutes, although it would certainly be desirable if your lower limit were five minutes.
Of course, I don’t want you to force your body. So if you feel you’ve reached your comfort level before the 5 minutes are up, please don’t go any further. It’s definitely your best. The most important thing is to progress at your own pace. Otherwise, a possible injury can keep you away from the yoga mat for a long period of time. And that’s something I believe you certainly don’t want.
The first variation of this pose, Marichyasana A, involves a forward fold. If your right leg is extended forward, your left leg is bent at the knee, and the foot of the left leg is placed on the inner side of the right thigh. Your left hand goes around the left shin with your left hand. Your right hand also goes behind your back. With your left hand, if you can, grasp the wrist of your right hand. If you cannot reach the wrist of the right hand, try the fingers of the right hand. In the event that this is also a challenge for you, feel free to use the belt. In this variation, you put the strap around the wrist of the right hand. With your left hand, you hold the belt, which you will extend as much as you need in order to catch it with your left hand. During the pose itself, try to straighten the spine forward. The breath is in the upper position while you are still sitting with your back straight up. With an exhalation, you slowly descend. If you are able, lower your chin to the knee of your right leg. Remain in the pose for about 5 to 10 breaths.
In Marichyasana B, the so-called half-lotus pose is reached with the left foot. Namely, the left foot descends on the right thigh. The right leg bends at the knee, and the entire surface of the right sole descends on the yoga mat. Bring the right foot as close as possible to the right buttock. Hands go behind the back, as in the first variant. If you used a belt in the first variant, you would most likely need it for this one as well. Inhale in a sitting pose with your back straight up. With an exhalation, you descend downwards. If you can, lower your chin to the yoga mat. If it is a challenge for you to have your left foot on your right thigh, feel free to drop your left foot on the inside of your right thigh. Try to stay in the pose for about 5 to 10 breaths.
Marichyasana C is a seated twisting pose. In the event that your right leg is stretched out on the yoga mat, the left foot, with its entire surface, descends on the yoga mat as close as possible to the left buttock half. The left palm goes down behind the left buttock. The spine is completely straight in this pose. Exhaling leads to twisting to the left side, where the right-hand bends at the elbow that is placed on the outside of the left knee. Once in the full pose for an additional twist, you can pull your stomach in and try to extend your right arm downwards to create an additional twist. Of course, if you feel that you cannot do the pose completely, stay in your comfortable pose. Also, try to stay in the pose for about 5 to 10 breaths.
Marichyasana D is the most demanding variation. Entering the pose itself is the same at the beginning as entering Marichyasana C. The left foot descends on the thigh of the right leg. After that, the left palm is placed behind the back, serving as support when stretching the whole body upwards. During this stretching of the whole body backward and upwards, the left arm is stretched to the right side. The left arm is bent at the elbow and placed on the outside of the right knee. After that setting, the left arm is stretched forward, and its elbow bends inward towards the left side of the body. In this way, the wrist of the right hand or the fingers is accepted. If necessary, use the belt, which will be around the wrist of the right hand. This pose itself involves intense twisting. Accordingly, you can practice this pose only when your body has mastered the previous three variants. If you have entered the pose, stay in it for about 5 to 10 breaths.
In essence, all four poses represent one natural sequence, on the basis of which each subsequent pose organically derives from the previous one. Each pose prepares the body for the next one.
When it comes to the gaze, in all these poses, the gaze is directed at the tip of the nose.
Since each of these four poses is different from the previous one, each one has some benefits that the previous one does not.
Marichyasana A is especially great for runners because it relaxes the hamstrings. In addition, it is excellent for stretching the hips, back, and shoulders.
In addition to the above, Marichyasana B is excellent for strengthening the muscles around the ribs. It is also good for massaging the stomach, which can help keep the digestive process running smoothly.
In addition to all the benefits of Marichyasana B, Marichyasana C is a great way to get rid of excess gas that makes the body feel bloated.
Marichyasana D, in addition to all the above benefits, is excellent for people who have problems with sciatica, menstrual problems, and exhaustion.
All these poses have a positive effect on calming the entire nervous system. In addition to the fact that the poses themselves require a certain level of flexibility in the lower part of the body when you fully enter them, you achieve complete relaxation of the entire body. In this way, in addition to calming the nervous system, the focus of the exerciser is also improved.
Practicing all the poses of Marichyasana activates the adrenal and thyroid glands. In this way, a good balance of hormones is established within the body for the purpose of a better and better quality of life.
These poses are challenging on a physical level. However, if you have a completely sober and conscious approach to each new pose in your yoga practice, then I have no doubt that you will master all the poses related to Marichyasana.
Of course, without rushing and always respecting the current limits of your own body.